Background to the Oombulgurri demolitions commencing 30 September 2014 - 1 October 2014
Newsletter date: 5 March 2015
* Open Letter:
To H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of UN General Assembly
From Ghillar Michael Anderson, Sovereign Union
Re: Refugee Camp in Perth and developing Humanitarian Crisis
* News Analysis: Gerry Georgatos, The Stringer: Western Australia's Government to bury Oombulgurri
* Media Release: Greens Senator Rachel Siewert: Senate motion condemns Oombulgurri demolition
* Analysis / Opinion: Amnesty International Australia: WA Government must stop Oombulgurri demolitions after forcibly evicting community members
* Analysis / Opinion: Amnesty International Australia: Oombulgurri demolitions: your questions answered
* Audio: Gerry Georgatos, NIRS: Questions over mining influence on Oombulgurri demolition decision [Featuring Chair of the Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation, Cissy Gore-Birch]
* WGAR Background: Plans to close Aboriginal homelands / remote communities in WA and SA
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WGAR News - Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
- Open Letter
To: H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of UN General Assembly, New York, NY 10017 USA
From: Ghillar Michael Anderson, Convenor and Joint Spokesperson of Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic
Re: Refugee Camp in Perth and developing Humanitarian Crisis
3 Mar 15: "As the appointed Ambassador of the original Aboriginal Embassy, the Convenor of the Sovereign Union and Head of State, Euahlayi Peoples Republic, I herewith bring to your attention the humanitarian crisis that has now developed in the state of Western Australia. This crisis is a consequence of the Western Australian government's policy of shutting down up to 150 Aboriginal homelands and communities, which they have wrongly stated to be financially 'unsustainable' and economically unviable. We regard these actions as an an act of war and aggression against the various tribal Nations in Western Australia.
Already we have seen the Lockridge Aboriginal community in Perth bulldozed with impunity after the Commonwealth government of Australia had just completed building new dwellings. The people are homeless and have now crowded into other family homes creating massive overcrowding, which leads to family confrontation and lateral violence that affects not only children but adults alike.
In the northern part of Western Australia the Aboriginal community of Oombulgurri was progressively closed down: First, the government closed the services. ... then eventually the electricity and water were turned off. Finally, the 10 residents who resolutely stayed to the end were forcibly evicted, ...
I call upon Your Excellency to make this humanitarian crisis known throughout the world. Furthermore, we ask that Your Excellency assist in the immediate provision of safeguards and protection of the refugee camp and to provide appropriate aid for the health and well-being of the refugees."
- News Analysis
The Stringer: Western Australia’s Government to bury Oombulgurri
30 Sep 14: "The remote eastern Kimberley town of Oombulgurri was slated for demolition by the Western Australian Government in November. But the demolition job may have started today. It has been reported by The Australian journalist Andrew Burrell that the demolition could be underway today, "heading off a belated effort by Amnesty International and some Indigenous people to halt the works." Contractor McMahon Services has been hired by the Government “to demolish and bury more than 40 houses, sheds and other buildings at the abandoned Oombulgurri community, near Wyndham”. But the truth is that Oombulgurri was never abandoned. The State Government evicted the residents after closing down Government services." By Gerry Georgatos, a life-long human rights and social justice campaigner, a multi-award winning investigative journalist
- Media Release
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert: Senate motion condemns Oombulgurri demolition
2 Oct 14: "The Senate has backed an Australian Greens motion condemning the demolition of the remote community of Oombulgurri in Western Australia.
"The Senate has supported my motion, which calls for an immediate suspension to the demolition of Oombulgurri and for a dialogue to begin with residents and Traditional Owners," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues said today.
"The action being taken in Oombulgurri has caused deep concern.
"Communities cannot be strengthened if the underlying causes of disadvantage are not addressed. Governments at the State and Federal levels need to be investing in services and support for remote communities, to improve health services, ensure children and families safe and provide quality education and employment opportunities. That did not happen in Oombulgurri and this support has not been provided for the residents since they left.
"The demolition of Oombulgurri should be halted and the WA Government should immediately start working with residents and Traditional Owners," Senator Siewert concluded."
- Analysis / Opinion
Amnesty International Australia: WA Government must stop Oombulgurri demolitions after forcibly evicting community members
23 Sep 14: "The WA Government must stop the demolition of an estimated $30 million worth of homes, public buildings and infrastructure in the Oombulgurri community in WA's Kimberley region, said Amnesty International. The organisation’s public action calling for a stop to the demolitions has attracted over 16,000 supporters since it was launched last Wednesday."
- Analysis / Opinion
Amnesty International Australia: Oombulgurri demolitions: your questions answered
17 Sep 14: "The Government of Western Australia plans to flatten the Aboriginal homelands community of Oombulgurri within days. Amnesty International Australia is calling on the WA Government to stop the demolitions and here we explain why."
NIRS: Questions over mining influence on Oombulgurri demolition decision
30 Sep 14: "A body representing Native Title holders over land including the shut-down east Kimberley community of Oombulgurri has criticised the decision to demolish its buildings. Chair of the Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation, Cissy Gore-Birch (pictured), has suggested mining exploration may be the real reason behind the Western Australian Government closing it down. 62 homes lay vacant in Oombulgarri, with the Government stating it will demolish them in November. Ms Gore-Birch says mining exploration licences have been handed out in recent years, but former residents, many now homeless, want to return to the community." Gerry Georgatos, Correspondent
WGAR Background: Plans to close Aboriginal homelands / remote communities in WA and SA
(last updated: 4 March 2015)
- - -
WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
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